I could tell she wanted me to show I cared. And I cared, so much, but I didn't know how to show her.

She didn't do the whole physical contact thing. We even started an "air hug" system, where we air-embraced.

But it's not the same thing. It's not like having someone wrap their arms around you and silently say "it's okay, you can cry, you can complain, you can just sit here in silence. I'll be your rock, I'll be here all day if you need me."

When she looked at me with her eyes so full of nothingness, so hurt and lost, it broke my heart.

Comfort is hard to give when you only have a spoken link. I wanted to hug her, I wanted to hold her to me, I wanted to at least hold her hand or stroke it softly to show her that it would all be okay.

She looked down, she looked away, she rubbed fiercely at her eyes and tried to pretend nothing was happening. We silently stood to leave, we were about to walk apart, and I gently put my hand on her shoulder, trying to convey in a soft touch everything that I had wanted to say, and everything that she wanted to hear.

She hesitated, then tentatively opened her arms. "I think I need a hug."

We stood there for a good ten minutes, before I finally let go of her.

(she doesn't mind the occasional hug now.)